Case Study - Smith Bros. Design

Business Clients Work

Dulux Trade has been involved in a project to redesign Waters Corporation’s Software Development Centre - transforming it into a place of energy, fun and scientific innovation.


Romanian Waters Site receives Dulux and partners transformation

Dulux Trade has been involved in a project to redesign Waters Corporation’s Software Development Centre - transforming it into a place of energy, fun and scientific innovation.


The scientific laboratory instrument and software manufacturer took on interior design practice Smith Bros. Design to create a space for optimal performance and staff retention.


The site, in Brasov, Romania, is an area of high competition for skilled workers, with IBM having recently moved into the space. The project saw Smith Bros. Design tasked with creating “an exciting place to work where employees can have a better cup of coffee than you can make at home”.


Enlisting the expertise of Dulux Trade, the Smith Bros. Design team sought to provide optimal conditions to allow all employees to thrive despite differing working styles and environmental preferences. The space created needed to maximise not only employee satisfaction but also productivity and engagement. Smith Bros. Design opted for an environment reflecting the clients’ innovative high-tech product portfolio. The Dulux Trade team collaborated on the colours selected, recommending a scheme from their ColourFutures™ 2017 palettes - in order to achieve maximum productivity and aid wellbeing.


Blues were used as studies have shown the colour to be calming, relaxing and even have the impact of lowering the blood pressure - and light shades were chosen to make meeting rooms and offices seem larger and brighter. Hues of orange were a theme for the canteen and breakout areas as the bright colour has been shown to evoke excitement, enthusiasm and to energise. Red was avoided because it is shown to raise the blood pressure. ColourFutures™ has been dedicated to the expert analysis of social, economic and design trends for 17 years. Every year, AkzoNobel creates colour palettes that help professionals to transform interiors into spaces that impact occupants’ needs. The Global Aesthetic Centre in Amsterdam has been leading AkzoNobel’s colour trend analysis, colour research and design, and art direction for 27 years.


Throughout the 20-month project, Waters’ stakeholders were involved and provided regular feedback to enable a collaborative design with results that met the needs of team leaders and employees. In an area of such demand for highly skilled people, the number one aim of the project was the retention of current employees and attraction of new talent - with an estimated employee growth expected to increase by around 60 per cent in the next three years. The facility was officially opened in September 2017 and the project resulted in Smith Bros. Design being shortlisted for a Mixology North award, celebrating the dynamic and innovative interior design community.


Rob Pace, Emerging Sector Manager, Dulux Trade said: “This was an exciting project for Dulux Trade, the team have worked hard in ensuring that Smith Bros. Design’s brief was fulfilled, to create a space that had a tangible impact on the occupants. “We have spent years funding and developing research in occupant centred colour and design, and being involved from the outset has meant the team have seen the development of this project through to the final result, demonstrating why colour should be considered a vital part of the design process. “Designing a space that is tailored to the workforce is really the best brief a design firm can get - seeing a company put time and effort into making their workspace an enjoyable place to be, as well as stimulating and productive is the ideal.”


Helen Hampson-Smith, founder of Smith Bros. Design, commented: “There is a growing body of evidence pointing to a positive correlation between the well-being of workers and their performance. The physical environment is an important part of this and has the potential to maximise not only employee satisfaction, but productivity and engagement as well. ”The number one driver for this project was retention of current employees and attraction of new talent - in the immediate six months following the move, no one had left the building.” Waters CEO Chris O’Connell added that the site was a “modern facility that features many innovative spaces, such as team clusters, that facilitate the agile software development methodology.” Peter Hicks, Senior Manager of Corporate Real Estate Waters said: “The Romania project was a unique endeavour for Waters in that it was the first time that we unleashed a creative design team with few restrictions to allow them to truly understand our needs and provide an environment totally dedicated to meeting those needs. The team was allowed the latitude to take Waters ‘outside of the box’ compared to our typical office designs.”

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